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Art repatriation refers to the return of works of art or cultural objects to their country of origin or previous owners. These objects were forced away from their original owners or creators in their home countries as a result of war, colonialism or imperialism. Repatriation is a hotly discussed topic that is going on and its fire has some hope of absolutely dying out. Strong giants and scientists and people in authority like art consultants, art critics, art historians, art teachers, politicians and other well-meaning personalities have expressed their views on this controversial topic of restoring creative products to their places of origin.

The issue of repatriation of the species and the conflicts it engulfed in is deep and large. Some arguments in favor of repatriating works of art to their former owners while others strictly object due to even high high opinions. This paper aims to discuss the subject of repair of works of art and the efforts of global bodies and associations for the repatriation of works of art and the challenges that have arisen. It will then examine the discussion further from both angles as to whether these African art and cultural articles should be repatriated, which is currently raising the Western museums and small houses in the upper European class to their countries of origin.

Several efforts have been made by the various global agencies and agencies responsible for human welfare and international peace to repatriate items illegally acquired by their current owners. Various conventions and declarations have been made to ensure that the repayment of these cultural items is strictly returned to their places of origin. These efforts have met some minor successes while the challenges are glorious and devastating.

The first effort to repair the work was the constitution of the Lieber Code (General Order # 100) in 1843 designed by Francis Lieber, who was commissioned by US President Abraham Lincoln to order a set of rules to govern the Confederation of Prisoners, Non-Associations , spies and property as a cultural object. It is sad that the code allowed the destruction of cultural property under military necessity, which causes this code to be revoked.

In 1954, the Hague document was developed after the great destruction of the Second World War and the great looting of cultural objects and art. This document also faced various criticisms because it favored the market nations & # 39; so rich countries over & nbsp; source nations & # 39; who is usually poor.

Another effort for repatriation was initiated by the UNESCO Convention against Illegal Exports and the Intergovernmental Committee to promote the return of cultural property to the countries of origin or its repayment at illegal employment on 14 November 1970. Like its predecessor, the Convention was greatly revised, because it was too much broad and not specific. It also led to black market agreements on the sale of these cultural objects.

Recently, most countries incorporate the solution of repatriation problems with "Mutual Returns Agreements" (MBRA). This document requires that counterparties determine resistance in a way that is beneficial for both sides. This arbitration procedure between owner countries and trial countries of goods will surely have its drawbacks.

Some of these obstacles are:

1. Bad legislative methods were developed among the signatory states.

2. Failure to establish a system for resolving ownership and remuneration issues.

3. Some works of art and cultural objects do not have clear information about history to help determine its place of origin.

4. Sometimes there are several speculations about the origin of the artwork, which makes it difficult to know the original owners.

5. Legal battle for the repair of works of art is long and costly.

The question is why are some countries struggling strongly for repatriation of art to their home countries? Many reasons are often cited. Analyzes of objects prompted by their countries of origin are generally known and valuable works that are crucial to the historical and cultural documents of those countries. These cultural objects are a symbol of cultural heritage and identity, and the return of such historical works is a hallmark of the country's pride and it must be repeated. A return of such works requires a special welcome ceremony that a long-standing member of the community who has become a hospital and is now liberated returns home.

Furthermore, the advocates of the repatriation of works of art to their places of origin claim that the encyclopedic museums, such as the British Museum, the Musee du Louvre and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which are the principal of the prestigious artistic creations of different countries, harbor them from the point of view and scope of the cultures that own them. It is also very disturbing that the encyclopedic museums that accommodate most of the world's artworks and artifacts are located in western cities and are the privileges of European schools, professionals and people. This is quite unfair because the protectors protect jobs from their owners who are not suitable and civilized in a free democratic world where we are.

Again, some ethnic communities and nations dare to need some repatriated works to be able to reconstruct their national history, which is a starting point for each country's survival and hope of living in the future. This has been the case with the Benin Court's ritual object that the Nigerians need to write the stories of their ancestors. Wouldn't it be illegal and even a crime to deny the return of jobs of such importance to their rightful owners?

In the same ideas, things are first appreciated and understood in their original and cultural context. Many artifacts have particular cultural value for a particular community or nation. When these works are removed from their original cultural environment, they lose their context and the culture loses some of its history. Because of this, items must be returned to their home countries. This explains why there are false interpretations in connection with some of the African masterpieces that find their homes now in "foreign" lands.

Also, the removal of the creative products destroys destroys the archaeological sites that could have been set up as a tourist site to generate income for the owners or countries of origin. This, according to the author's view, could have contributed to the economic strength of the country of origin which in Africa is mainly financially pulverized.

In addition, the possession of works of art taken under the tedious conditions of war, looting, imperialism and colonialism is unethical and still proposes continued colonialism. To stand and secure total liberation and freedom from colonized states, these creative objects must be returned.

In addition, when items that are in fragments are repatriated back to their home countries, they can be consolidated with their other parts to achieve a whole for the meaning of the work to be properly occupied. This is the case with Parthenon's marble sculptures of the Athena Temple which are now located in the British Museum in London. The ancient Greeks, who are the owners, believed that the sculptures bring their subjects to the virtual life, and there before completeness or wholeness is an essential element of an imitative or representative art.

There are many schools and other well-meaning educators and individuals who strongly oppose repatriation of objects and other cultural objects to their country of origin. One of their arguments is that art is part of a universal human history and that old products of different cultures promote inquiry, tolerance and broad knowledge of cultures. Having works of different cultures would help to eradicate cultural monopolies that are a major cause of global unity. Curators and directors of art museums claim that when a museum has worked with many cultures, it introduces visitors to a diverse range of art to help weaken the ignorance that people have about the world.

Artistic creations exceed national boundaries as well as the cultures and people who created them. Therefore, a deliberate alignment or segregation of an art restricts the scope and understanding of the work to a particular country.

It is also believed that Western art museums are intended for professional management of the work in their care. They are assumed to have the right infrastructure to house the objects. Therefore, the safety and protection of the work is guaranteed. It cannot be said of the seemingly poor African states that ask for repatriation of art. They lack the infrastructure structure to protect the works when they are repatriated back to their home ground.

However, this is an understatement because much of the artwork that is transported out of colonized countries was unreasonably removed and damaged and sometimes lost in transport. The issue of security and protection of works of art is still the subject of debate. Owners of the objects may have the necessary infrastructure available to maintain the repatriated works. But judging correctly, one can say that this was due to a high financial burden that is already on the weak axes of these "source nations".

Another important issue that is capable of repairing creative works is with respect to the plaintiff about the total ownership of works of art. The problem is aggravated when many countries, cities and museums are in possession of parts of a work of art. Where should it be "home" for the reunited work? Who should be the ultimate owner of the creative masterpieces? To limit this challenge, many schools, art directors and curators arise that it is best not to repatriate their objects back to their home countries.

It is a hard truth that must be accepted that African works are convincingly displayed in the museums and other general views of Western countries, especially Europe must never see its homeland again. The debate on repatriating works of art will continue, although some efforts are made by some nations and authorities to return to products illegally acquired to their original homeland.

The author argues that cultural objects that have historical significance and can help with the reconstruction of a country's history must be returned. However, those locked in encyclopedic museums for the consumption of the population, who are not necessary for rewriting a country's history, should not be repatriated. However, their correct interpretations must be put to the question of their original owners. Since the revenue is to be raised, the original owners of the work must be compensated or replaced so that they can share the profits with the museum that holds the art.

Again, there must be mutual understanding and agreement between the original owners of works and the museum to reach a consensus that is favorable to all of them. It will also be cautious that stakeholders need to take steps to show the products sometimes to the citizens of the country of origin, so that the creative elements are seen so that they will not only preserve only the privileged Europeans but also the poor owners of such wonderful creations.

A combined effort to reach a friendly consensus from both the host country and the country of origin, if well surveyed, could help reduce the hunt for repayment of artwork to their country of origin.


UNESCO (1970, November 14). Convention on the Prohibition and Prevention of Illegal Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.